Wednesday, 6 May 2015

What shall I do with all those eggs? (part 1)

Make cakes, of course! All four of the cakes in this series, made over the past few weeks as an escape from blogging about the newspaper cutting found in a hole in the fireplace and the history of the First World War, have something in common - an unusual technique of combining the raw materials.

What are they doing with our eggs, Blanche?

They also use plenty of eggs. All four serve 8 - 10 people.

Our hens produce borderline medium/large eggs. An egg must weigh at least 64 grammes to be called Large. Ours are almost all between 59 and 66 grammes, the average is 62 grammes.

Alice bangs out a 61gm egg every afternoon, amid a great deal of palaver from Blanche.

I'd really like to have some chicks....

Blanche is having a little trouble settling into a rhythm.

B*gg*r chicks, where's my lunch?

She is producing more than one egg a day, more than her eggshell-plating mechanism can cope with, which means soft-shelled eggs that usually get stepped on and broken. We hope things will improve with time, meanwhile we are feeding her an exclusive diet of layer's mix and chafer grubs, and providing a calcium block to peck at.

The first cake was for the Cake Club, on a theme of "Spring is sprung". I christened it "Pumpkin Surprise Cake", the surprise being that there isn't any pumpkin in it. The basis was Light Sponge Cake from the National Trust's book "Good Old-fashioned Cakes" - a present from Jean, for which profuse thanks.

Wot no pumpkin?

This recipe originated at Chirk Castle in Wales, where the cake appeared regularly at afternoon tea. It's great as a plain sponge cake, served on its own, or with fruit and cream.

I doubled the quantities to make two 21cm (8 inch) cakes for a sponge sandwich.

400g (14 oz) sugar
5 of our hens' eggs or 6 medium or 4 large eggs
300g (11 oz) plain flour
A pinch of salt
2½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
200ml (8fl oz) milk
100g (3½oz) butter
100g (3½oz) butter
½ tsp vanilla essence

If using self-raising flour, omit the bicarbonate of soda and reduce the baking powder to 1 teaspoon.
  1. Grease two 21cm cake tins and line them with baking parchment or greaseproof paper. Put the sugar and eggs in a large pyrex bowl and beat using an electric beater, until the mixture is thick and creamy. Add the flour, salt, baking powder and bicarb (if using) and mix well.
  2. Oven on, 160°C / 325°F  / gas mark 3.
  3. Put the milk and butter into a small pan and bring gently to the boil. Pour the boiling milk over the flour mixture and add the vanilla essence. Beat well. The mixture should be of quite a runny consistency. Pour into the prepared tins and give each tin a sharp bang on the table to release bubbles.
  4. Bake for 40-50 minutes until the cake no longer wibbles when you move the tin and the tip of a proddler skewer comes out clean.
  5. Allow the cake to cool for 15 minutes before removing it from the tin, then place it on a wire rack to cool completely. I've made this cake twice now and both times it came out a bit "sad" (sunken in the middle). This is intentional of course - you can fit in more filling.
Icing was an unrepeatable orangey buttercream based on a topping for Screwdriver cupcakes, combining homemade Clementine syrup and Seville Orange Vodka with icing sugar and butter. This was slathered between and over the cakes and decorated with slices of homemade Confit de Clementine and wild violets from the front garden. Actually Tim decorated it but I picked the flowers. I went to wash my hands and he nipped in before I came back.

And it featured on the front page of the CCC web site!

That's my cake, that is! And to the right that would have been my branch had I not moved to France!


GaynorB said...

We weren't there so couldn't taste this one, but it looks fantastic and I'm sure tastes delicious.

Seems like a pretty good way to use up your eggs.

Jean said...

Your cake for cake club was gorgeous and its place on the website is well deserved!
As Lulu has cheesey egg for breakfast every day and we also do a fair amount of baking, I could happily buy any spare eggs from you every week.

Tim said...

Wot spare eggs?
And I enjoy decorating cakes...
and eating them of course!!

Salvo's is a wonderful Italian restaurant...
just a stroll away from one of our favourite pubs... Arcadia!!
Says it all really...

Vera said...

Lovely cake, and have made a note of the recipe and will have a go at making it when we find the eggs which the hens tell us they are still producing, but are not telling us where they have hidden them!